Notes From the Margins…

Down from the Mountains

  • August 25, 2015
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I’ve just returned from a working holiday in the Pyrenees.  During that time I haven’t done any blogging, partly because good  and sustained  Internet connections weren’t always available, and also because I was doing too many things to be able to sit down and write for long periods.   I went to the...

Calais: the dystopian frontier

  • July 31, 2015
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In these nervous, gloomy times our cultural appetite for dystopia often seems insatiable.     Again and again in book, tv series and film we like to imagine places in the near or distant future where our worst fears are realized, and the destructive or oppressive tendencies that we perhaps sense in the present are...

The Uses of Fear

The Uses of Fear

  • July 27, 2015
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The 21st century is a frightening place, so frightening in fact, that many of us would be forgiven if we just cowered under the blankets all day and never went anywhere.   Ebola, SARS, swine flu and bird flu, terrorism, ISIS,  people traffickers, migrants, financial implosion and the collapse of the eurozone – whatever face...

Who’s afraid of Jeremy Corbyn?

  • July 24, 2015
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With Jeremy Corbyn now the clear frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest, the uneasy and incredulous mutterings that have been spreading through the Labour Party establishment and the commentariat in recent weeks have risen to an increasingly strident and hysterical  chorus.   Tony Blair has crawled out from his gilded swamp to  declare  that...

Labour: Giving the public what it thinks it wants

  • July 21, 2015
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One of the recurring justifications for the Labour Party’s drift to the right over the last – how long as it been? – twenty or thirty years has been the notion that it is only responding to the ‘concerns’ of the public and acting in accordance with what it hears.   During the Miliband...

Labour’s Summer of Madness

  • July 20, 2015
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It’s amusing, in a gallows humour kind of way, to watch the horrified response of the parliamentary Labour Party to Jeremy Corbyn’s startling surge in the Labour leadership polls.   Having shooed him into the race in order to broaden the parameters of a democratic debate that they expected him to lose, the upper...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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